tv The Rachel Maddow Show MSNBC February 19, 2014 9:00pm-10:01pm PST
thanks for being with us, everybody. seat belts on, it was a big day. let's start here. >> one at a time. >> you were the first person to identify what happened at the bridge was a crime. did you report that to authorities? and do you feel under the circumstances you should have? >> my e-mail, i state my beliefs, which was my belief then, i testified under oath in trenton to that effect. i believe i took the right action when i learned about the lane closures promptly opened them, i stand by my e-mail. i believe then and i believe now, and obviously giving the multiplicity of law enforcement obligations underway, that there was a question of violations of federal and state law. >> in the e-mails -- is there a reference that samson was on the new jersey side, retaliating against you and the new york side for your e-mail and your actions -- what was the
retaliation in that? >> you're asking the wrong guy. that's a question in order to refer to the chairman. >> are you serious? >> i'm not going to speak to that. >> has the chairman ever said to you -- >> the answer is no. and i don't expect one. >> the chairman in this case, that they're talking about is david samson who is the chairman of the port authority of new york and new jersey. the man speaking will is patrick foy, the executive director, he's the guy that reopened the access lanes on to the george washington bridge that had been shut by allies of new jersey governor chris christie. patrick foy's decision was the decision that finally gave some relief to the new jersey town of ft. lee that had been besieged by four days of man made on purpose total gridlock. by the time he opened those lanes, it had been more than four days with no end in sight until patrick foy figured out what was going on on that bridge and put a stop to it. the last time that patrick foy talked about this issue in public was when he testified
before the new jersey legislature under oath that the whole traffic study idea was a cover-up, there was no traffic study, today was his first public appearance since then, at which he took questions on the matter, including some very pointed questions about david samson, and including one fascinating question from our own steve kornacki. he asked mr. foy about one of the more vexing questions in this whole scandal. he was appointed to the port authority, shortly after chris christie became governor of new jersey. and the job that he got at the port authority didn't exist before he got it. they created this job for him. he submitted no resume to get the job. once he lost the job, once he had to quit because of this scandal, they dissolved david wildstein's job title.
they got rid of the job, the job was only needed as long as david wildstein was going to be there. steve kornacki asked the executive director of the port authority about that period job, weird only for david wildstein job. check this out. >> the title that david wildstein had created for -- what was your understanding of what his job at the port authority was and now that role is not going to be existing. >> the position was a director of interstate projects, a joint one that we discussed, we made that decision, i think it was the right one. the absence of someone in that position, whether david wildstein or someone else will have zero impact on the port authority. >> what was the job. there was no formal job description i've been able to
find. what is your understanding of what his job at the port authority was. >> i understand he was primarily interested in politics. that's -- >> wow! yeah, what was his job? he was doing political work for chris christie. basically, i mean, that's what he's sort of saying there, right? i understood he was primarily interested in politics, next. he was there to do political work at the taxpayer cost of $150,000 a year paying his salary for four years, before he did this thing on the bridge and got caught for it and now he has to be gone. fascinating stuff today. also, for the first time today, the port authority where david wildstein worked when he did shut down those bridge lanes, the port authority as an organization finally apologized. what exactly -- not exactly
clear, there was an apology or two. >> the port authority shut down lanes. we're responding to the action. we're taking forward action on it. >> we're apologizing for the action that everyone's been reporting on and you guys know. that's the first time anyone has apologized for what happened on that bridge. the port authority gave it a second shot at apologizing again. this time it was the chairman of the port authority david samson, he's the former attorney general of the state of new jersey. he's a close political ally of new jersey governor chris christie. he was a man who appointed to his job at the port authority by governor christie. >> recently there have been many comments and concerns about how
the port authority operates. i cannot allow the agency to be mischaracterized by the actions of few individuals when the day to day work of so many, including this board is so important. on behalf of the board of commissioners, we are deeply sorry for inconvenience caused to our travelers. while i would like to comment more specifically about some of the outstanding issues, i recognize that there are established efforts to examine the events that occurred. i defer to these procedures. and i trust when the facts unfold and they will unfold, the public will have a complete picture.
this will include any comments i will make today for the public and the media. now, let us return to the agenda. >> top chris christie appointee. he's issuing his first apology for what happened on the bridge, saying that will conclude any comments he will make today. he will not talk about it any more. it's true he did not talk about the subject in public any more today, it is unlikely he'll be able to get away with not talking about this matter at all in the future. as the port authority was sitting down today to this first meeting since the whole scandal blew open. as they were finally issuing its first apologies for its role in the whole scandal, as that was happening, readers of the bergen record newspaper today were sitting down to this. when david samson is not being the chris christie appointed chairman of the port authority, he's one of the named partners
of the wolf and samson. in 2010, wolf and samson, david samson's law firm were hired by an entity that operates a bunch of parking lots for new jersey commuters. they were hired for $650,000 in 2010. in 2011, they more than doubled the value of that contract, they were getting paid a million and a half dollars, by 2011, by the end of 2011, david samson's law firm is getting paid a million and a half dollars by the entity that owns these parking lots. their contract was for wolf and samson to advise this entity that has these parking lots on how they could maximize the profits that they made from all their parking lots. over the course of those two years, by the end of 2011, david samson's law firm had been paid $2 million. one of those parking lots is right here. you see the buses in the upper right hand corner, you see the lot with the regular cars.
a couple people parked their cars in that parking lot every day. the land is owned by the port authority. the group that operates the parking lot pays the port authority to use it. they've been paying the port authority $900,000 a year in rent to operate that parking lot. well, in early 2012 david samson as head of the port authority voted the port authority should stop charging $900,000 rent and instead start charging $1. $1 a year, again this group had been paying almost a million dollars a year, to use that lot. david samson in private practice is being paid to help that group maximize their profits. he helps to reduce their rent by $899,999 a year. thus depriving the income they've been getting. and whether or not you think the parking lot is worth $900,000 a year in rent or whether you think the market value of that
property really is a dollar a year, whatever you think of the merits of that decision. david samson voted on it, he didn't recuse himself. he cast a vote on that while his law firm has a big financial stake in the vote. we should note that david samson's firm has not replied to a media request for a comment on the parking lot. this is not the first time he's been on the oh, my god end of the story since the bridge scandal broke open. he rehabilitated a new jersey train station, even though his firm was building a bunch of luxury apartments right next to that train station. the train station development would really help his client. whether or not you think it's a good thing that harrison new jersey is going to get a new train station. how could he be voting on that, when he has a private financial
stake in the outcome of his own decision. and david samson and his law firm are at the heart of the allegations made by the mayor of hoboken, new jersey. she was leaned on by the christie administration to support a private development in hoboken that again had representation from wolf samson from david samson's law firm. the mayor says she was told that sandy relief funds for hoboken would be contingent on her doing that deal, okaying that development. doing that financially remunerative favor for dave samson and his clients. dave sansom and his clients and the christie administration have denied those comments. there he was, david samson, he is still in his job. when the bridge lanes were shut down and patrick foy, the guy you saw a minute ago, when he intervened to get those lanes reopened. he described efforts to reverse pat foy's decision, and said david samson was helping us to retaliate against that decision. mr. samson also turns up in the
documents saying that pat foy the guy who reopens the bridge is stirring up trouble and he ought to stop playing in traffic. despite all of that, despite the way david samson is in the mix of all of these things. governor christie says he's come vinced of david samson's total innocence in this manner. he is still in this position that chris christie appointed him to. he's been subpoenaed at least twice in the investigation of this matter. he's been represented by two major law firms, including one run by chertoff, the former head of homeland security. the people who have invoked their fifth amendment rights are stepien and kelly. the committee investigating the scandal filed lawsuits against bill stepien and bridgette kelly. these are the civil actions they filed. if they continue to refuse to
hand over documents they could be held in contempt which would be a matter of criminal prosecution against them. they are big heavy dense legal documents, these are the court filings against bill stepien and bridgette kelly today. it's legalese, but at times they readily pot boilers, this is the one from chris christie's campaign manager. the committee already has evidence demonstrating that mr. stepien received information related to the reassignment of access lanes, even while that reassignment was ongoing, and not only after it happened as mr. stepien corn tends. oh, really? in the other one, in the bridgette kelly civil action today. as the person who authored that e-mail saying it was time for traffic problems in fort lee, miss kelly certainly has relevant information about the
subject matter of the committee's investigation. the committee is well within its right to ask miss kelly a state employee using state resources about the official state action to close access lanes to produce any further information she has. the effort to compel them to turn over those documents, and maybe to compel them to testify. that effort is now going to court. and it will likely take months. the battle is joined on that front and you can read all about it, if you're interested. you want to know what else happened today? in addition, this happened today. in all its glory. it's been a big day. we got these today. the town of ft. lee, new jersey which was the object of punishment in the bridge scandal for what happened on that bridge, it was ft. lee, whatever reason, we still don't know.
but ft. lee was the object of punishment. and they released 2,000 pages of public documents that they had in their possession as a town related to the bridge lane closure. a lot of this is about them answering requests for information from the public, but they've also released some communications from during the bridge shutdown, including one really intriguing text message from chip, port authority police lieutenant chip michaels. now, remember on the first morning of the bridge lanes being shut down, as they were putting the shutdown into place, at 7:30 that morning, david wildstein the guy who's job at the port authority whose job was mostly politics. david wildstein turned up at the bridge that morning to see his handiwork. he showed up at the bridge that morning to see what the impact was of shutting down the lanes from ft. lee, at 7:30 that morning, he sent this e-mail saying he was going for a ride around with chip.
thanks to steve kornacki's reporting, we believe that was david wildstein taking a ride around with port authority police lieutenant whose name is chip michaels. he turns up in a few other places in the documents that have been released publicly so far. we have previously reported, we broke the news on this show about how david wildstein did the work over a period of a couple weeks of planning the bridge shutdown before he put it into effect. what was fascinating about that, is that he got some options from the career employees around the bridge, from the technokrats, from the traffic engineers about ways to mess with ft. lee. he asked them specifically to model some new traffic patterns that would result in reducing ft. lee's access to the bridge. but the options that the traffic engineers gave david wildstein when he asked for that, weren't draconian enough. david wild stein went back to
the traffic engineers after he got the first batch of options from them, and asked them for worse options. he asked them to make the lane shutdown even more severe than what the traffic engineers had initially offered him. presumably so as to cause maximum pain to ft. lee since we know that's what they were trying to do. we reported previously on this show, that that happened in august of last year, ahead of the actual shutdown. well, now, as of today, we have something that could just at least a similar dynamic at work, once the shutdown was already underway. yeah, we're going to stick it to ft. lee, but how can we really stick it to ft. lee. look at the timing here. it was -- just underneath the inset, it was 7:28 a.m. when david wildstein said he was going to take a ride with chip and see how it looks. it's roughly 7:30 in the morning. he gets in the car with the port authority police lieutenant to take a look at the traffic that has ensued from what he's done. a little more than an hour later, it appears that that police officer, that port authority police lieutenant are no longer together, their ride
around had ended and we know that because there's no reason for two people in a car together to text each other if they're in the car together. so we can assume that the ride around has ended when that port authority police lieutenant sends another text, a follow-up text to david wildstein. they went on the ridearound at 7:30, at 8:36, chip says, i may have an idea to make this better. that's 8:46 a.m. well, now, as of today, we know that 45 minutes after that the same police lieutenant who had been riding around with david wildstein, who had an idea to make this better sends another text message to the ft. lee police chief, and that is him making a suggestion about how to deal with these traffic problems that were so bad this morning. suggest we send wk traffic to center avenue entrance. if you want to know where that is, he's suggesting sending the traffic coming from hudson terrace to center avenue instead. this whole area is gridlocked, the source of the gridlock is those access lanes.
well, the bergen record reporting on that text message today, the bergen record is bergen county where this all happened, so they can report the actual on the ground stuff. what the police officer was proposing would have made everything way worse. it would have rerouted local traffic toward the closed lanes. that move would have forced traffic to pass the lane closures. that port authority police lieutenant says, i have an idea of how to make this better. they've been driving around looking at how bad it is. david wildstein wants to see how bad he's been able to make those traffic problems, after he drops david wildstein off, he says, i have an idea to make this better, and less than an hour later his idea is an idea to make this way worse for ft. lee. we don't know if that was the police lieutenant's intention. we know from the records released today that the police
chief responded to the port authority policeman by saying, are you crazy? that cannot happen, there's already gridlock there. was there effort underway, not just in designing the bridge shutdown. but once it was underway to crank it down further and try to make it even worse for ft. lee than it already was. when the kids weren't getting to school, the ambulances weren't getting to people, police weren't able to respond to people, police were stuck for hours, was there an effort underway during the bridge shutdown to make it even worse because it wasn't bad enough yet? and did that effort extend beyond chris christie's allies at the port authority who were doing the whole thing, to also include a law enforcement agency? when that bridge was used as a weapon to hurt that town for reasons that still haven't been explained? we have that newly today because ft. lee just released this on top of the legislative committee releasing this, it has been a really bad day for trees, but it's been a big day for this story. stay with us. the works
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recently there have been many comments and concerns about how the port authority operates. i cannot allow this agency to be mischaracterized by the actions of a few individuals when the day to day work of so many including this board is so important. on behalf of the board of commissioners, we are deeply sorry for inconvenience caused by travelers. >> david samson apologizing today for the bridge lane shutdown that his agency arranged in september. apparently after an instruction to do so from governor chris christie's now fired deputy chief of staff. joining us now is heather hatten, reporter for the "wall street journal." >> thanks for having me.
i know you marinaded in this documents. what do you think is the most important revelation from what we learned today from ft. lee and why did we get these documents in the first place? >> they're in response to governor christie's council who is doing an internal review in regards to the lane closures, but also asked for documents from ft. lee and hoboken as part of his review. ft. lee chose to respond by saying these documents are media requests for documents from ft. lee and certain communications that are relevant to the bridge closures and phone logs. >> requests from governor christie's attorney, he asked to meet with hoboken mayor don zimmer, they said no. asked to meet with ft. lee mayor mark sockeledge they said no. very specifically, a huge amount of this -- it's interesting that governor christie's attorney wanted ft. lee's records of them talking to the media, i'm not sure how that was germane to the investigation. >> democrats have raised questions about how this is part of their internal review. the internal review is to interview members of the
christie administration about their own knowledge of this going on during when the lane closures were happening and afterwards, but he's broadened that review. the most interesting document for me in there was the handwritten log from the ft. lee police chief where he's recording his observations during the lane closures and his calls and what he knew about it at the time. and the first recording in that log, he says that chip michaels, the lieutenant we referred to before had told him on the first day of the closures, they were part of a month long traffic study about traffic to the bridge. that's the first time from our understanding that they've ever indicated a month long traffic study. that's really long. from there he goes on to record the traffic, it backed all the way up to cliffside park, which is a neighboring community to ft. lee. road rage was a response that he got from passengers caught in the closure. and he documents calls made to
the port authority liaison. and basically, to a fault, no response, no response, no response. you really get a sense that they -- at least from the phone logs, they didn't know why these closures were happening beforehand, then they're dealing with the closures and getting a lot of frustration. >> it seems to me from ft. lee's perspective, it's important to get that. now looking at the other side of it, the head of the port authority police union was saying, there was no ambulance problems, there were no police problems, no safety concerns with this whatsoever, we know that wasn't true. we also have this -- at least one text message from the port
authority policeman, which makes it seem like maybe the port authority police were more closely looped into this than we previously understood. is that your understanding? >> that seems to be what this indicates, we only have a few text messages related to this, and that one you mention in particular, it does seem that they were at least involved in some measure of the planning of this, and particularly, it's all from this lieutenant michaels, he seems to be more directly connected than some of the other ones. so the legislative committee had said that they're going to examine this, and that's part of their subpoenas to the port authority police, i expect there could be more documents that
come out of that. >> along with ted mann i predict you will win awards for your coverage on this stuff. thanks, i appreciate it. and again, i apologize to the trees iggest welcome home. for a love this strong, dawn only feeds him iams. with 2x the meat of other leading brands... ...to help keep rocky's body as strong as a love that never fades. iams. keep love strong. with 2x the meat. love the iams difference or your money back. we are the thinkers. the job jugglers. the up all-nighters. and the ones who turn ideas into action. we've made our passions our life's work. we strive for the moments where we can say, "i did it!" ♪ we are entrepreneurs who started it all... with a signature. legalzoom has helped start over 1 million businesses,
last night we led the show with what looks like war in the streets of ukraine, there with volcano protests in ukraine. last night all hell broke loose in the streets of kiev, it looked like this for hours. when we were in the air last night, the death toll from that fighting between protesters and police was thought to be about 15 people. dawn today it looked like the death toll was 25 dead. the government says another 240 people were injured, some news accounts put the number of injured people at more like 1,000. those were the scenes last night in ukraine, and the capital city of kiev. the fighting went on and it spread. this was earlier today, thousands of people showed up again in the same square to protest. this is not just people left over from yesterday. thousands of new people joined them today after they saw what
happened last night. ukrainian riot police pushing and fighting their way into the central square. demonstrators don't have riot gear like the police do, but they have been wearing the civilian version. many people wearing helmets and makeshift body armor trying to hold the square. trying to not get hurt. this was kiev today. this was odessa today, the third largest city in ukraine, the conflict is pro government activists wearing helmets and wielding baseball bats. these are progovernment forces all in black, ultimately charging at anti-government protesters and also at journalists. that's odessa. here's the live feed we have right now from the central square in kiev. there's a lot of worry about what happens next, and who can
effect what happens next. a lot of the worries coming down to one specific question which i'll explain in a second. you can should know today, the russian government put out a statement condemning the protesters, accusing them of mounting a brown revolution by which the russian government means, they mean brown shirts. they're accusing the protesters of being terrorists and of mounting a nazi cue to overthrow the government. kind of amazing. on the other side, the european union has called an emergency meeting of its foreign ministers for tomorrow. and has raised the question of sanctions. a list of top ukrainian officials is now subject to a visa ban, which means they'll be banned from traveling to the united states. president obama personally went even further today, he warned the government in ukraine to not cross the line as the president put it, he mentioned one specific concern. watch?
>> there will be consequences if people step over the line, and that includes making sure that the ukrainian military does not step in to what should be a set of issues that can be solved by civilians. >> president obama warning the ukraine to leave the military out of this. and that has been a real worry, and here's, why a couple weeks ago the president suggested a state of emergency in response to these protests. the head of the military set up a time that noll one has the right to use the armed forces to restrict the rights of the citizens. today the president of ukraine fired that guy. the guy who had stood up to him in the military, which is worrying, was the head of the military stopping the ukrainian president from turning the army loose on their own citizens? if so, it's worrying the head of the army has been fired. they promoted the head of the navy to replace him. turning this over would be very worrying in terms of the death toll here. >> one very small glimmer of
hope today, even as the fires continued to burn, late this afternoon, there was a report on the website of the ukrainian government that the president had met with some opposition leaders and they agreed to at least a temporary truce. they use the word truce. other opposition leaders, i'm not saying anything about this yet, and it has not looked like much of a truce. hope springs eternal. it has to especially when things are this scary. pay my bill. phone: your account is already paid in full. oh, well in that case, back to vacation mode. ♪boots and pants and boots and pants♪ ♪and boots and pants and boots and pants♪
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he is yet, we're working on that. this is him or her hopping around in a storm water pipe under a coal ash dump in eden, north carolina. we know this, because the company that owns the coal ash dump sent a camera down the pipe to see if it's been leaking. it turns out, yes, it's been liking. this is a pipe that's supposed to carry rainwater safely to the dan river on the other side of the dump. the colt ash water polluted with coal ash residue is leaking into the pipe. that's what's been spilling into the river. testing so far has shown arsenic levels at 14 times the level safe for human beings. let's hope frogs are more resistant than humans right now. that's the latest headache for eden, north carolina. another pipe spilled tens of thousands of tons of coal ash
into the river. the pipes belong to duke energy where north carolina's governor worked for 28 years before he went to politics. federal prosecutors had sent a subpoena to north carolina's environmental agency. testimony from the state about duke's coal ash spill into the dan river. the u.s. attorney's office described the subpoena as part of an official criminal investigation of a suspected felony. that subpoena landed on february 10th, last week, now, tonight we have news of a fresh round of federal grand jury subpoenas for the governor pat mccrory investigation in north carolina. they sent north carolina regulators a new and broader demand for documents, the new subpoena is seeking information about every duke energy coal ash dump in the state. more than 30 of them across 14 dinner sites across north carolina.
specifically they want to know about a settlement that the mccrory administration proposed and then backed out of with duke energy over some of its coal ash dumps. that settlement happened after environmental groups tried three times to sue duke energy last year. each time the mccrory administration stepped, in took over the case and then moved to settle it. the state proposed set egging two of its cases where the group had been known to be polluting the groundwater. grand total of a $99,000 fine. and no agreement that they would clean up the pollution. the day after the associated press published a blockbuster account about the proposed settlement. governor mccrory's office yanked the settlement. check this out, we now know that in addition to the subpoena about the site where there was that huge spill, in addition to the subpoena about all the sites and the state's proposed
settlement that the ap wrote about, in addition to both of those things we also know this. federal prosecutors have subpoenaed 18 staff members of the mccrory administration. 18 staff people who work at north carolina's environmental agency. 18 individual subpoenas, they'll have to turnover documents and testify. they were served last week, they were not disclosed until today. look what the prosecutors are asking for. they're asking the people who work for the mccrory administration for all documents to include payment, cash, check, wire transfer received by you from duke energy and its partners. documents about any item of value received by you. also documents about payments or items of value you might have given to them. they also ask for any information about contracts between duke energy and any of its affiliates and all these people working for the mccrory administration. now, just because a staffer got one of these subpoenas no no way means it happened, right? it doesn't mean the staffer got
or gave anything of value to duke energy. but it does show us what federal prosecutors are looking for in this criminal investigation in which they have subpeonaed a dozen and a half people who worked for the mccrory administration, and the administration itself. they appear to be looking to see if anyone got paid off by duke energy when they were working in pat mccrory's administration to supposedly regulate duke energy. that appears to be what they're after. mccrory administration officials pulled out of their press conference on the issue of the subpoenas today while reporters were still shouting questions in their direction, they just walked out of the room. joining us now is the grand bureau chief, mr. tibiri. thank you for being with us. i appreciate your time. >> absolutely. >> i have to ask you if i'm a naive outsider and this kind of thing happens all the time. or whether this is an unprecedented situation?
>> this is unprecedented. and this is not something new in the sense that there are 30 coal ash ponds. and environmentalists had been warning for years about contaminated groundwater here, and in the aftermath of some other environmental issues and west virginia recently and also there was a coal ash spill, the largest in u.s. history six years ago, following those events, environmentalists have urged the state hearing to do something, they haven't. this is all very, very new. there's no precedent for this here. >> i was going through all the subpoenas today, there's 18 subpoenas of people who work for the administration, another subpoena seeking personnel records for them. and then there's a big long subpoena seeking information from the state about their dealings with duke energy and coal ash in the past. as you were going through these
voluminous documents today, what's your sense about what federal prosecutors are looking for here, and what felonies may be involved here? >> as you mentioned, this is a 94 page subpoena that came down today, they're looking for illegal payments, sweetening, greasing of the wheels. and they're looking for a legal payment to state employees who cannot accept any kind of bribe or anything that would compromise their judgment. of course, the state, the department of environmental and natural resources is supposed to be policing duke and making sure that the clean water act is being -- is in effect, duke isn't violating the clean water act. and we'll see what they find if anything. >> in terms of governor mccrory and how he's managed this issue, we saw him get asked about this issue when he was holding press availabilities. we saw his administration today hold a press conference but then cut it off in the middle of a lot of people wanting to ask questions. he knows that he works for duke energy for 28 years and people know that about him if they know
nothing else. it would seem to me like he's not managing this well, in terms of seeming independent from duke and seeing like he's handling this issue aggressively. from within the state, how does it seem to you? >> this is certainly a big moment for him. this is a very big moment. as you said, big aspirations. just in his second year as governor of the state. and how is this going to play? how is this going to affect his political career moving forward? as for that press conference today, you mentioned it, yes, i was there and the reporters, we probably had never 45 minutes or an hour worth of questions. and the tone today from the secretary was one that was really defensive. he criticized and critiqued media reports. he just said there were
misperceptions about the state's legislation environmental groups and the citizens group, which a bit of irony when he said that there's a partnership between those citizens and the state. and a reporter did point out and asked how come if they're partners with you in this whole thing, the citizens, the environmentalists, they weren't at the table today with you all. >> fascinating. this is the story that the national press has not caught on to. the governor mcquarry was on the shows talking about how much he stands cleaning up on the environment. and none of the hosts mentioned he just received a federal criminal grand jury subpoena on that issue. the national press is not picking up on this. but it is an amazing story. you guys in north carolina are doing a wonderful job covering it. thank you for your reporting on this. thanks for being here. >> thanks, rachel. >> we'll be right back.
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the bush institute completed one of the most comprehensive studies ever conducted of post 9/11 veterans. here's a sneak preview. of the 2.5 million post 9/11 veteran, more than 2 million served in afghanistan or iraq. the average veteran spent one out of every three years overseas. >> george w. bush has stopped being president, most of his speeches have been for money. less than two months after barack obama has sworn is as successor, he started getting paid gigs. his first was march 2009 in canada. he's also done the get motivated seminars, which are basically a pitiful self-help style traveling revival, usually held in big stadiums. half of what happens is that you get speeches by former president george w. bush. but the other half is a hard sale from snake oil salesman how
you should sign up to make a million dollars in penny stocks. sign here. even as the former president has turned down invitations from president obama to address events like the commemoration of 9/1 1 saying he wants to keep a low profile, mr. bush has kept up a steady stream of the private events. i'm not sure what criteria he uses to determine who gets the opportunity to pay him that money, but last year he decided to address a jews for jesus style event for a group that tries to convert jewish people. that go the jewish community really annoyed by him. today, former president george w. bush did a rare thing. he spoke for three, and it was open to the press. he spoke at his presidential library. when he formed that library, he also formed something called the
bush institute. it was a bit of an unusual decision. alongside the library part of library, mr. bush said he wanted this institute to work to change public policy. he wants to keep effecting policy through his institute. well, today in this unpaid speech concerning his institute, the former president gave one of the only open to the press speeches he's given since he left office. it was to launch a big initiative of the bush institute. the former president who started the word in afghanistan and started the war in iraq is now launching his initiative in his post presidency. he wants to be known as the champion of the people he turned into veteran whence he started and then walked away from two of the longest wars in history, including the one he launched on false pretense, something about which the former president says he has no regrets. now he wants to be known for how much he supports the people he sent to fight those wars.
and of course, it is better that he supports them than if he didn't. nobody has ever faelt faulted the former president for doing this kind of work quietly on his own. now he wants to be known for this. and it is a little mind bending. >> it's never too late to learn a new skill. just ask laura. i promise you years ago, she didn't think she was marrying an oil painter. >> maureen dowd of all people from the new york times reports that former president bush is now painting skulls. he's painting animal skulls. he's doing that in private, but his wife confirms that's what he's doing. in public, though, he's wrapping himself in the glory and in the cause of the people who he sent to get saddam hussein's smoking gun, right in?
it's a free country. this is his new cause. and the man can say whatever he wants. now it's time for "the last word" with lawrence o'donnell. have a great night. tonight, the parents of reaction to the verdicts in the murder trial of michael dunn and the reaction to what one of the jurors had to say about the case. >> the verdict in the michael dunn murder trial is raising questions. >> the jury delivered a verdict. >> he's accused of killing a teenager. >> dunn fired ten rounds. >> the shots killed 17-year-old jordan davis. >> dunn says he shot davis in self-defense. >> no gun was ever found. >> no weapon, however, was ever found at the scene. >> this was a mixed verdict. >> guilty on four of five charge against dunn. >> that's three counts of attempted murder. >> and one count of firing into the vehicle. >> jurors failed to reach a unanimous verdict. >> the jury was unable to come to a decision on the charge of first degree murder.